When FEMA administrator Brock Long started his job past year, he began to take routine trips home to North Carolina, using a government driver and vehicle to make the six-hour trek from Washington, D.C. An aide, who would stay in hotel room at taxpayer expense, would also accompany Long on these trips.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general is also probing communications between Long and a FEMA contractor that may include discussions about future employment, a source told the Journal.
"I would never intentionally run a program incorrectly", Long said in an unscheduled appearance during a briefing with reporters on Thursday morning about Hurricane Florence, a Category 2 storm that was growing in size as it approached North Carolina.
"Bottom line is, we'll continue to fully cooperate with any investigation that goes on and own up to any mistakes and push forward and keep going", he said. "Doing something unethical is not part of my DNA and it is not part of my track record in my whole entire career".
Long would use a staff driver to drive him to North Carolina, Politico reported.
The news of the investigation comes as the east coast of the United States braces for Hurricane Florence.
Over 1 million residents of coastal states including North Carolina and SC were ordered to evacuate as of Thursday afternoon, ahead of the expected landfall of Hurricane Florence on Friday.
CNN reached out to the DHS IG for comment and is awaiting a response.
DHS press secretary Tyler Houlton said Nielsen has confidence in FEMA's leadership in a statement. "FEMA fully cooperates with all investigations conducted by the DHS OIG".
FEMA Administrator Brock Long speaks during a news conference at the National Hurricane Center as National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham, right, looks on, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, in Miami.
"Having worked directly with him for over a year, I know Administrator Long to be an experienced and respected emergency manager".
Several current and former Trump administration officials have been investigated over their travel expenses.
The former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, resigned in July after allegations of outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease.